The armed forces have made elaborate arrangements to conduct aerial fly-pasts, light up ships at sea and shower flower petals on several hospitals across the country on Sunday to express gratitude to lakhs of doctors, paramedics, sanitation staff and other front-line workers engaged in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday announced that the three services will carry out a series of activities to thank the 'corona warriors'.
The thanks-giving activities will start with laying of wreaths at the police memorial in Delhi and in several other cities on Sunday morning to honour the police personnel deployed in enforcement of the nationwide lockdown, officials said.
It will be followed by fly-pasts by fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, covering a sizeable number of cities and towns across the country beginning 10 am, officials said.
Cities where fighter jets of Indian Air Force will conduct fly-pasts include Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Patna and Lucknow. Transport aircraft of the force will carry out similar drills in a number of cities including Srinagar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, Bhopal, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram, officials said.
They said fighter aircraft formations, comprising Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29 and Jaguar, will be flying over Rajpath, Delhi's centrepiece boulevard, and will orbit over the city for around 30 minutes from 10 am.
"In addition, C-130 transport aircraft will follow a similar profile as fighters covering the entire Delhi and NCR region. The aircraft will be flying at an approximate height of 500 metres to 1000 metres keeping aerospace safety in mind especially in respect of bird activity," an IAF official said.
He said the fly-past is combined with the training activity of the IAF.
Helicopters from the IAF and Indian Navy will fly over hospitals treating coronavirus patients and shower petals as a tribute to the corona warriors, the officials said.
In Delhi, IAF helicopters are scheduled to shower flower petals on a number of hospitals including AllMS, Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital, GTB, LNJP, Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, Safdarjung, Sir Ganga Ram hospital, Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital, Max hospital in Saket, Apollo Indraprastha hospital and Army Research and Referral hospital.
Military bands will play 'patriotic tunes' outside various civil hospitals treating coronavirus patients across the country, the officials said.
Separately, Indian Navy helicopters will shower petals on Kasturba Gandhi hospital and naval medical hospital Ashwini in Mumbai, GMC and ESI hospitals in Goa, Ernakulam General hospital in Kochi, Government TB and Chest hospital in Vizag and GB Pant hospital in Port Blair.
Navy officials said the Western Naval Command will illuminate five naval ships from 7.30 pm to 11.59 pm off Gateway of India in Mumbai.
They would display banners like 'India Salutes Corona Warriors' and will sound the siren of the ships and fire flares at 7.30 pm at anchorage.
Additionally, the Naval air stations at Goa would organise a human chain on the runway to honour the 'corona warriors'.
The Eastern Naval Command will illuminate two ships at anchorage from 7:30 pm to midnight at Visakhapatnam coast.
Flower petals will be dropped by IAF helicopters on select hospitals in multiple cities including Leh, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Mumbai, Jaipur, Varanasi, Patna, Lucknow, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Kolkata, Itanagar and Shillong, the IAF official said.
Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said Indian Coast Guard ships will be seen at 24 places including in Porbandar, Okha, Ratnagiri, Dahanu, Murud, Goa, New Mangalaore, Kavarati, Karaikal, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Nizamapatanam, Puducherry, Kakinada, Paradip, Sagar Island, Port Blair, Diglipur, Mayabundur, Hut Bay and Campbell Bay.
"The nation stood together and showed resilience in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of armed forces, we want to thank all the corona warriors -- doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police, home guards, delivery boys and media," Gen Rawat said on Friday.
So far, the coronavirus has infected 37,776 people in India and claimed 1,223 lives, according to the Union Health Ministry on Saturday.
Gen Rawat's announcement about the special activities came shortly before the Union home ministry said the the current spell of the lockdown will be extended by another two weeks from Monday.
The lockdown came into force on March 25 and was to end on April 14. It was first extended till May 3.